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Morgan standing in a foggy field

In Memory: Mary Jean Vasiloff

January 23, 2017

Mary Jean Vasiloff, 86, of Old Lyme died at her home after a long illness on December 18, 2016.

Born in New York City in 1930, she was the daughter of Rook Metzger McCulloch and Dr. Warren S. McCulloch.

At the age of 15, with her parents support, she started a breeding program of Morgan Horses on McCulloch Farm in Old Lyme. Her aim was to produce horses with the most desirable and original characteristics of the breed. This program has produced more than 500 horses, many of them prize winners. Her Morgans carry the Whippoorwill prefix.

Mary Jean has shared her knowledge and love of horses with many others. She started the Whippoorwill Horse Club where young people and adults came to learn and spend time with horses. In 1978, she wrote a comprehensive guide book "Alone With Your Horse." She was also the author of numerous articles for horse publications. Through the years, thousands of people have attended free Morgan Versatility Events at the farm, as well as open barn days.

She was named American Morgan Horse Association Woman of the Year in 1996 and was director of the AMHA from 2004-2007. In 2010, she was inducted into the AMHA Breeders Hall of Fame which honors breeders who have produced Morgans that have had a significant impact on the breed.

Mary Jean is survived by her son, Christ, and grandchildren, Shauna and Jesse Vasiloff of Old Lyme; daughter-in-law, Marsha Vasiloff Abramhanson; a brother, David McCulloch of Old Lyme; and sister-in-law, Wilma Ames of Florida. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

She is predeceased by Alexander Vasiloff; her son, Anthony Vasiloff; a sister, Taffy Holland; and a brother, George Duncan.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.